Review: The Mighty Storm by Samantha Towle

Reviewed by Joanna

Now, I need epic love stories like most people need air, so when I heard about a series of books with a Big Love couple I hadn’t read, I got all het up and marched on over to book one. But one person’s Big Love is another’s overdone turkey, and I think I’m about to make myself unpopular with my opinion on this couple. Where I enjoyed some parts of this rock star story, there were significant elements of it I didn’t enjoy, centering around cheating, whining, and indecisive people.

Trudy wants to be a rock journalist. This being a challenging industry to break into, she’s generously settled for writing a music segment for a fashion magazine, and is enjoying London life with her boyfriend of two years.

Her boss at the magazine exploits an old friendship Tru had with one Jake Wethers – rock star du jour. Jake never talks to the press and has recently been through a huge tragedy with his band mate dying, but when he sees Tru’s name on the request he’s all over that interview like rock stars on coke and pretty ladies.

He and Tru were childhood friends until his family relocated from Manchester to the States when he was fourteen. It was a long time ago, but Jake is clearly into Tru from the moment they reunite. He employs her to write his biography (which goes away as a plot line – don’t worry) which means going on tour with him and his band. Of course there’s the existing boyfriend impediment but let’s not let that worry our enamored couple as the friendship they had bursts back into life, boosted by a newfound hit of super chemistry.

The tale is told from Tru’s perspective, but the sexy languor from Jake is palpable. He’s a rock star to the max, with tattoos, a long, hot body, cigarettes, huge cock, drug addiction (recovering from) and a charming DGaF attitude. He’s presented as hot stuff and exciting, if somewhat desperate. If I was Trudy I’d be welcoming the ride but assuming it would be short-lived. After the loss he suffered, no wonder he wants to pull some comfort around him. It didn’t make me dislike him, but it lined up their issues in a predictable way.

Trudy, I had a couple of issues with. She’s whiny, materialistic, and a bit of a misogynist, admitting she gets on better with men than women, and that any women working on the tour would be bitchy groupies chasing after Jake. She also made a couple of statements about ‘girliness’ I found irritating. E.g. she doesn’t like ‘girly’ music. I’m a girl and I listen to metal, indie and electronica. Therefore these are girly, and Tru is out of luck dating a rock star.

Besides this, she was light hearted and enjoyed life, so I mostly got over my complaints. It was when it came to Jake and her existing boyfriend Will, who she loved deeply, that my real problems started. Trudy and Jake succumb to their mutual admiration (after mega sweet-talking from Jake, and not much boyfriend-remembering from Tru), and jump into the sack together. I felt the compelling need between them and the chemistry they couldn’t deny – total catnip time – but it’s what happened next that I hated.

Trudy didn’t want to tell Will about the attraction she had to another man, despite the fact he was joining her on the tour. Well, she did want to tell him, then she didn’t, then she did, ad nauseam. So while she’s still in her loving relationship, she starts sleeping with Jake, sharing a bed and a ton of beautiful, intense bonding moments, all while she’s having her daily chats with her boyfriend.

Then Will turns up earlier than expected.

And it is. So. Awkward.

Kudos to the writer as I was cringing in my seat. I’m not going to give you the particulars but nasty stuff was happening on that page. Then when Will remains clueless Trudy still doesn’t tell. For days. As they all socialize together. And Jake makes some mega-obvious cave man claims. Jake has pretty much declared himself all-in so she’s playing with two hearts (though Jake I didn’t exactly feel sorry for. He’s got not problem with breaking up relationships – not Trudy’s, or the married women he’s previously slept with so nope, suck it up, buttercup).

And this is dragged out forever. I despise cheating. It sucks, but maybe sometimes people are in the wrong relationship, meet their soul mate and can’t help the passion. This can only happen once, and it’s about them being honest to themselves, so therefore it follows that their honesty needs to extend to immediately telling their old partner and apologizing for breaking their word. Not having lots of sex and falling madly in love. Then they ought to pay some sort of penance for it. Am I too tough? I don’t think so. So there’s a lovely moment later in the tale when…

Spoiler alert – push-me-pull-you Tru gets a taste of her own medicine when she find Jake in bed with another woman. This form of punishment made me feel the scales were more balanced though I’d long lost respect for the couple.

I also didn’t like the way they were frequently horrible to one another. Jake was all for Trudy but was spiteful and childish when he couldn’t have what he wanted.

“When we’re good, we’re great, Jake. But when we’re bad, we’re fucking horrendous.”

Then once they get it together, the angst doesn’t go away, and I started to find it tedious despite the drama being thrown at them. The vacillating Tru does and the repetitive pleading of Jake had me skimming sections.

“Yeah, well good luck with that, buddy, because the more you push, the further I’m going to pull away. I think. I don’t know. Crap.”

“I wish I was with Jake right now. No, I don’t.”

By the end I didn’t care enough about the characters to be all that happy about their HEA. I checked out book two’s description to see if it followed another couple, but it doesn’t – it’s still Jake and Tru hamming it up some more. Then the book after seems to be stuck in the same asshole-mire with a new couple. I won’t continue this series.

Overall I enjoyed the first half – the anticipation of the tour, the chemistry and the quality of the writing was good. I didn’t like the conclusion of the relationships or how the characters’ bond was on shaky ground. Or the characters, all that much. They deserve each other, but I’d give them a year.

Rating: C

Click to purchase: Amazon

The Mighty Storm
by Samantha Towle
Release Date: August 24, 2012

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